New insights into the activation, interaction partners and possible functions of MK5/PRAK

Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2016 Jan 1;21:374-84. doi: 10.2741/4394.


MAP kinase-activated protein kinase 5 (MK5) was first described as a downstream target of the p38 MAP kinase pathway leading to its alternative acronym of p38-regulated/activated protein kinase (PRAK). However, since the discovery that MK5 is a bona fide interaction partner of the atypical MAP kinases ERK3 and ERK4 and that this interaction leads to both the activation and subcellular relocalisation of MK5, there has been considerable debate as to the relative roles of these MAPK pathways in mediating the activation and biological functions of MK5. Here we discuss recent progress in defining novel upstream components of the ERK3/ERK4 signalling pathway, our increased understanding of the mechanism by which MK5 interacts with and is activated by ERK3 and ERK4, and the discovery of novel interaction partners for MK5. Finally, we review recent literature that suggests novel biological functions for MK5 in a range of physiological and pathophysiological conditions including neuronal function and cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytoplasm / enzymology
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • MAP-kinase-activated kinase 5
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases